Teacher Training for Social Science Education (3-2021)


School is a cornerstone of society. Teachers considerably contribute to the development of their students and the whole society. The significance of teachers for successful curriculum innovation is well recognized (EU 2013). The growing individual and socio-economic needs in the knowledge society, the expectations of school education of families and of an increasingly diverse student population challenge teachers and teacher training.

This applies even more to teachers of social science subjects. Above all, they prepare learners to orient themselves in society, economy and polity, to continually explain new individual and collective challenges and to form their own judgment about causes and strategies. They enable learners to seize individual opportunities, to overcome restrictions if necessary, but above all to participate in the development and shaping of a democratic society in a globalized world, with different social and economic roles, taking human rights into account. Social science subjects in particular are often taught by teachers who did not study this subject. Hardly any other subject places so high demands of knowledge and skills on teachers and their permanent willingness to deal with dynamic and complex developments.


Excellent teachers, mentors, headmasters, and teacher trainers are needed who can prepare pupils for life in the 21st-century. The quality of the professional preparation of teachers, their socio-economic status, their working conditions, and their dignity should fit to their difficult task, serious shortcomings should be addressed. The teaching profession is becoming less attractive (European Commission, Eurydice 2018, 17), it is marked by a sharp gender bias (OECD 2017, 1-2), combined with an overaged teacher population.

Internationally, there is a vivid discussion on the need to move towards more innovative models of initial teacher education and continuing professional development for teachers, of the recruitment and the retention of qualified professionals. Teaching future teachers therefore goes far beyond communicating and explaining specific topics in the various subjects. They are mentors and role models for young people, they offer orientation in an increasingly complex world and they need awareness of pedagogical challenges, ethos and skills, critical reflection on one's own practice (Gregory, 2001), continuing self-education and support in their daily work.

The editors welcome empirical research, surveys and conceptual proposals to improve qualification, commitment, societal profile, prestige and attractiveness of the teaching profession in the field of social science education. Papers should focus on successful initiatives (good practices) of universities and institutions of teacher training and continuing professional development. In this call, we are reluctant to impose a rigid framework but we would be especially interested in knowing how authors do tackle one or more of the following aspects and areas of operation from the perspective of teacher training:

  • How is teacher education for social science subjects in different countries constructed?
  • What competence and knowledge do social science teacher need?
  • Which social science knowledge do all teachers need, which teachers for social sciences in particular?
  • In how far can social science teachers deal with complex and dynamic challenges of societies beyond uncertainty?
  • How can a European core curriculum for social science teacher education be identified?
  • What motives do social science teachers guide in their career choice?
  • Which kind of restrictions are social science teachers exposed to?
  • How does social science teacher professionalism develop?
  • How do social science teachers encourage their students to make independent judgments?


But we are also interested in general topics on teacher education, as far as social science education teachers are concerned:

  • From teacher education to teaching profession: Initial teacher education programmes (ECTS credits, internships, practice courses), professional development, on-the-job training, extra-qualification for educational research, self-understanding and the teaching profession;
  • Social science teachers in learning communities, school and society: Contribution to an inclusive school and society, participation in school development, role of teachers in counseling, educational relationship and communication, cooperation between teachers and families, teachers’ role in learner centred, digital teaching and learning communities;
  • Social science teachers’ work and career: Teacher work, awards, atypical teacher careers, strategies for attractiveness.

Teachers have the demanding task of implementing educational success and justice across the barriers of (social) background (Busse & Härle 2018, 239). In order to ensure interest and retention of good teachers, a strong promotion of teaching careers is needed; they should enjoy both empowerment and career opportunities / salaries, together with clear awareness of the special mission of their profession.

With additional qualifications (postgraduate studies, advanced education certificates), several teachers may act as mentors for trainee teachers on internship, may become experts and collaborate in school development planning, may promote, coordinate and implement research in education in closer cooperation among theory and practice.


The issue will contain:

  • An editorial in which key themes are highlighted and articles are briefly summarised;
  • 4-6 articles of between 6-9000 words;
  • 2-4 book reviews (each approximately 4-800 words long) on current issues of European citizenship education.


Editorial team:

Birgit Weber, University of Cologne, Germany

Olga Bombardelli, University of Trento, Italy


The following schedule will be used:

First submission by authors to editors:                            15 January 2020

Response to authors by editors:                                        15 February 2021

Final submission from authors:                                          15 April 2021

Final reviewing and papers ready for layout:                    15 July 2021

Publication:                                                                              15 September 2021


Busse, B., Härle, G. (2018). “Discourse amid conflicting priorities: A case for contentious teacher education”. heiEDUCATION journal: Transdisziplinäre Studien zur Lehrerbildung. 1-2, 237-72. https://heiup.uni- heidelberg.de/journals/index.php/heied/article/view/23834

Grammes, Tilman (ed.) (2009): Ausbildungsdidaktiken: Lehrerausbildung Didaktik Sozialwissenschaften/Educating Social Science Educators. Journal of Social Science Education, Vol. 8, Number 2. https://www.jsse.org/index.php/jsse/article/view/452/449

Hedtke, Reinhold; Jacke, Norbert (2000): Reform der Lehrerbildung. In: JSSE – Journal of Social Science Education (sowi-onlinejournal). https://www.sowi-online.de/journal/2000_0/reform_lehrerbildung.html

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2018). Teaching Careers in Europe: Access, Progression and Support. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/news/new-eurydice-publication-teaching-careers-in-europe-access-progression-and-support_en

OECD (2017). "Gender imbalances in the teaching profession", Education Indicators in Focus, No. 49, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/54f0ef95-en.

Sampermans, D.; Claes, E. (2018). “Teachers as Role Models in the Political Socialization Process: How a good Student-Teacher Relationship can Compensate for Gender Differences in Students’ Gender Equality Attitudes”. Citizenship Teaching and Learning; Vol. 13; iss. 1; pp. 105 – 125.